Back in May I suggested that RIM’s future addition of Android and iOS to the Blackberry Enterprise Server was the indicator of RIM becoming a software company. Their recent announcements seem to be solidifying that marketing positioning.
As RIM’s handset and tablet offerings continue to be met with weaker interest and declining market share from the consumer market, they still have a solid hold on IT departments of organizations that standardized on Blackberry devices. As those enterprise customers add new devices, blended mobile OS support in the BES server will quickly bring RIM to the forefront of Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors.
The key questions will be if RIM can extend beyond ‘big corporate IT’ and penetrate the mid market. The rigid controls of the BES Server’s past were more highly valued in larger IT organizations but the mid-market is demanding rapid deployment and ease of use.
While the BES Server has been around a long time, there are many solid MDM providers in the marketplace covering other mobile OS platforms such as JAMF Software, Mobile Iron and Air Watch. Another category that is rapidly emerging is Mobile Application Management (MAM) like that provided by Apperian focused on enterprise app catalogs and app distribution.
RIM is going to have to work really hard to maintain it’s place in the mobile management tool set of IT teams as mobile continues to evolve rapidly.